MONROE – A biogas power plant proposed on a former prison farm south of Monroe locked in a $1.5 million loan from the state on Thursday.
“We think it’s outstanding. We are certainly glad we are selected,” said Dale Reiner, who is leading the effort to build the plant.
Local dairy farmers, the Tulalip Tribes and Northwest Chinook Recovery, a Monroe-based environmental group, have formed Qualco Energy, a nonprofit partnership, to build the $3 million plant.
The plant would produce electricity by burning methane gas from decomposing cow manure. The plant would also produce fertilizer as a byproduct.
The project is among seven bioenergy projects that would receive a total of $6.75 million in loans from the state. The loans charge a 1 percent annual interest rate and need to be repaid within 10 years.
The bioenergy projects would help Washington reduce its dependency on foreign oil, state Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, said.
“If we don’t find alternative energy sources, we are going to crash,” Dunshee said.
Qualco Energy hopes to sell electricity to the Snohomish County PUD from the biogas plant’s 277-acre parcel a few miles from Monroe.
Reiner hopes the plant will begin producing electricity in early 2007.
The project, the first of its kind in Snohomish County, is expected to be a model for other similar projects, Reiner said.
“We’ve done a lot of homework,” he said.
Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.